Crawl space inspection robot/drone

Ira

Active Member
I know there are profession crawl space inspection robots, but they cost at least a couple of grand and are built for much more difficult scenarios than mine.
 
New home, with a 30" high crawl space over a full foundation. The crawl space floor is a finished concrete foundation (flat, level, etc.) that is all one level. Nothing to "climb over". It's a little over 100' from the crawl space door to the furthest point. There are a lot of 2x6 pony walls supporting the first floor, but there are a lot of 3' wide access openings in the pony walls that allow access to any area of the crawl space without having to go over wall plates nailed to the floor. The crawl space is sealed/unvented.
 
I think the requirements are pretty simple. Must be wireless remote control, have high quality video, pan and tilt, zoom would be nice, built in lighting, maybe an hour of runtime. It doesn't need to have a functioning arm/hand. All I need is good video and mobility capability.
 
What do I want to use it for? I don't know. Never had a crawl space house. Maybe check for a water leak or intrusion. Look for critters/bugs that shouldn't be able to get inside the crawl space. Who knows.
 
I guess what I'm looking for is something between a hobby RC vehicle and a professional grade robot, maybe costing up to $500.
 
Any suggestions?
 
Thanks,
Ira
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
I have built two similar kits now. The first one's radar was defective and never could get it to work. Second one, I never finished yet. These kits are very flimsy and not very rugged but may do the job. Range of the WiFi may be limited to less than what you want.
 
I would think lighting would be your next hitch. Cams are not usually very sensitive. I was thinking of some LED trouble lamps shoved down each side of the space via an extension style broom handle. I use one for clearing snow off my PV panels. Leave the lamps in place cords to the entrance as an on/off  disconnect point. You may be able to see enough with binoculars given better lighting.
 
Get yourself a mechanics creeper and eye googles for dust on your back. Install some ropes to pull yourself down the far end and back.
 

Ira

Active Member
I bit the bullet and bought a professional quality "inspection crawler" that is targeted at home inspectors. It exceeds the requirements I had listed above, except for the camera zoom capability. It was delivered yesterday, and I have been able to use it a bit to get used to it. It's impressive.
 
I'm satisfied with what I have for now, but I think that will change once we move to the new house and I start using the crawler more. The FPV setup is a Runcam 2 4K video camera connected to a 5.8Ghz AV transmitter. The AV receiver is a Flysight Black Pearl RC801 7" monitor mounts on a bracket on the RC controller. I understand that the 7" monitor is a good solution for a home inspector (mobility, large enough to see what's going on, etc.), but I think I would like a better video solution once we move to the new home. I think the perfect scenario for me would be to operate the crawler in the crawl space while sitting above in the den with the video being shown on my TV screen, preferably thru one of the TV's HDMI ports.
 
I think the AV transmitter on the crawler is analog, transmitting at 640x480. If watching the video on my TV, I would like to get into the HD world, at least 720p, or better if possible. Replacing the transmitter on the crawler should be pretty easy. What I haven't been able to find out for sure is if there is a suitable (size, video quality, power consumption, range, etc.) transmitter available, and what I would need to use as a receiver to display the video on the TV. If it makes things easier/better, I could probably mount the receiver in the crawl space beneath where the TV will be.
 
Thanks,
Ira
 
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